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“Motherfuck.” Travis’s grip returned to her backside, supporting it as he lunged to his feet—and he proceeded to bounce her like a puppet with no strings on his rigid arousal. Sweat slid down one side of his face, their lower bodies slapping together while the rain hammered home on top of the dugout. “You make me so fucking crazy. I can’t take it. My God.”

Those gruff words pitched Georgie over the side of the precipice, her sex seizing with enough intensity to make her scream, the sound swallowed by Travis’s fevered mouth. It bit at her and exploited her tongue while her knots untied, tension draining out of her in hard, trembling degrees, her thighs shaking around Travis’s hips. “Travis, Travis, Travis.”

“Coming,” he rasped mid-kiss, his groan filling her open mouth. In this position, there was no way to escape the quaking aftermath of what she’d done to him. He stumbled to the right, jaw dropping, his manhood jerking inside of her, leaving a flood of moisture behind. The sight and sounds stitched themselves onto her memory, where they would remain for all time. Travis silhouetted by the concrete dugout, rain falling in her periphery, his male growl of pleasure filling the air. And eventually his comforting, calming kiss, the stroke of his reverent hands as he sat back down, cradling her against his chest. “Sweet girl. So beautiful.”

She’d splintered apart at her peak, but those pieces drew back together now, stronger than before, glowing with contentment. “Sweet man,” she whispered, cheek resting on his shoulder. “So strong.”

Travis’s pulse was already galloping, but it stuttered at her words, his arms wrapping around her in an unbreakable hold. “You make me believe that.”

Georgie lifted her head to find Travis watching her with a thoughtful frown, and something passed between them. Something she didn’t know enough to name and was too afraid to explore. Contentment spread like jam on bread in her belly, though, which made it twice as frustrating when her phone started ringing, tangled in her yoga pants somewhere on the dugout floor. “I should get that. Just in case something’s wrong.”

He gave her a final kiss and nodded, letting her stand and keeping his attention on her as she answered. “Hello?”

“Georgie. I need you at my house like yesterday.”

She glanced down at her naked-in-a-dugout body. “I’m kind of busy.” Travis grunted his agreement, tugging her closer to nibble on her hip. “What’s all that noise?”

“Oh, you noticed?” Bethany’s sarcasm pierced Georgie’s afterglow. “Our sister-in-law told the whole town about the Just Us League. And now every woman in Port Jefferson is in my kitchen, demanding to join.”

“Shut up.”

“Just . . . help.”

Georgie sent Travis a regretful look. “I’ll be right there.”

Travis hovered in her periphery as they both got dressed. “The dinner with the network exec is tomorrow night.”

That contentment she’d been feeling nose-dived. “Right.” Along with the reminder of the end of the line came a need to protect herself as much as possible when she was in love with the man standing five feet away. “Actually I was thinking of heading over to Westbury early. There’s a wholesale furniture shop in town I want to check out. For the new office.” She shot him a smile. “Meet you there?”

His jaw twitched. “You want to arrive separately at this dinner when we’re supposed to convince the network we’re together?”

“Never mind,” she whispered. “I don’t know what I was thinking.”

Travis’s stony gaze told Georgie he knew exactly what she’d been attempting to do. Distance herself, even though she wanted to dive into him feetfirst. She tucked some haphazard strands of hair into her ponytail and backed toward the stairs, grateful the rain was letting up.

“Dinner is at seven, right? I’ll be ready to go at six.” Her smile felt stiff. “See you then?”

“My truck is at your place, Georgie. We’re running back together.”

“Oh. Yeah.”

After what felt like an endless staring contest, they jogged back in silence.

Chapter Twenty-Three

Georgie gaped as she stepped out of her car.

Chaos reigned inside Bethany’s house. Women spilled out the front door onto the porch, shielding their heads from the rain with umbrellas and newspapers. A deliveryman with a stack of pizzas pushed through the throng, holding up the bill like a white flag of surrender. Among the women, Georgie recognized her ninth-grade physics teacher, Boutique Tracy, and several other familiar Port Jefferson faces. Including her mother.


“Georgie.” Vivian paused mid-conversation to wave her closer. “Will you pay for these pizzas? I don’t have any cash.”

Right. It was well known that Vivian carried everything she owned in her pocketbook, but couldn’t manage to slide out cash or credit cards, thanks to her acrylic nails. “Who ordered them?” Georgie called, leafing through her wallet as she reached the front yard. “Where is Bethany?”

“Inside, talking about stuff.” Her mother shooed some women aside so Georgie could tunnel through. “Come on, move. Make way for the founder.”

“I’m not the . . .” Georgie shook her head. “I just came up with the name.”

“Founder! Founder!” Vivian chanted. No one joined. “What took you so long to get here? You weren’t home on a weekday morning?”

Suddenly, everyone on the porch seemed interested in their conversation. “I was out for a run with Travis,” she said, cheeks burning. “I had to shower and change.”

“Must have been some shower,” Vivian remarked, juggling her eyebrows.

“Yeah.” Georgie cleared her throat. “Um. So everyone is here to join the Just Us League?”

A cheer went up around her, followed by a single shout of “Fuck them all!”

Once the clapping and whistling stopped, Georgie said, drily, “We’ll see what we can do about that,” handing some twenties to the pizza man and pausing on the threshold of the house to take in the scene.

It was standing room only in the living room and everyone was talking at once. Bethany was perched on the fireplace and seemed hell-bent on bringing order to a conversation, and thus she didn’t notice Georgie’s arrival. In the kitchen, Rosie shot like a gorgeous Ping-Pong ball between the oven and the marble island, dishing what looked like empanadas onto serving trays. Bottles of champagne and orange juice were everywhere. It was brunch meets insane asylum.

“Where should I put these pizzas?”

Wordlessly, Georgie took the stack of pies from the pizza man and ambled toward the kitchen. “Rosie, you need some help?” Georgie called over the noise. “Where’s Kristin?”

“I’m here!” singsonged her sister-in-law on her way down the stairs, a bright smile on her face. “Isn’t this fabulous?”

“That remains to be seen.”

“I’m good in here,” Rosie finally answered, sliding the tray of empanadas in her direction. “Just . . . will you try one?”

When Georgie’s stomach roared, she realized she was starving. Although she found it pretty difficult to regret skipping cereal in favor of orgasmic stand-up sex with Travis. Yeah. That was definitely her preferred method of sustenance, even though her reservations crowded in afterward. What did it say about Georgie that she was beginning to need Travis’s touch, whether it was emotionally healthy for her or not?

Unable to dwell on her current predicament, Georgie shooed the rain cloud above her head away. “Sure.” She snagged a meat-filled pastry off the tray and took a small bite, blowing at the steam before taking another. Flavor exploded in her mouth. It was the single best thing she’d ever tasted. In her life. There was richness and spice and texture, all surrounded by perfectly crisped dough. “Oh my God, Rosie. You made these? From scratch?”

“Yeah.” The other woman smiled into her wrist. “Bethany said there was a crowd and she didn’t have any food in the house, so I made a quick pit stop at the store.”

“I could live off these. I want to live off these.” Maybe it was the clarity that came from the best sleep of her life, followed by the best sex of anyone’s life, but Georgie was gripped by a sudden idea to push her friend’s dream a little closer to reality. “Rosie, can you whip up some more?”

She moved around some plastic bags on the counter. “I have enough ingredients to make three more batches.”

“Do it.” Georgie turned to her sister-in-law. “Kristin. You’re responsible for this mess. You can redeem yourself by making sure everyone in this room puts one of these empanadas in their mouth.”

Kristin sputtered a little, then relented with a chin lift. “Fine.”

Rosie caught her eye across the island. “What are you thinking?”

“I’m thinking once everyone tastes what you can do . . . and wants more?” Georgie shrugged one shoulder. “Maybe we can crowdsource enough funds to open the restaurant.”

A hand clapped down on Georgie’s shoulder, forcing her to look away from Rosie’s stunned yet hopeful expression. “Where the hell have you been?” Bethany whined, shaking her. “Our church choir director just mooned the pizza guy through the living room window. My neighbors are going to call the cops.”